For much of the season, the Arizona Wildcats have been wildly inconsistent.
At least they’re being consistent these days — consistently bad.
The Wildcats (17-25, 6-14 Pac-12) were shut out by Arizona State on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field 7-0 in front of 3,409 fans.
It was their fifth straight loss and marked the third time in that stretch that they were blanked.
The Wildcats have scored more than four runs just once in their last eight games and have just two extra-base hits in their last five contests.
This sure isn’t 2012.
On Saturday, the two teams were scoreless through four, before the Sun Devils broke through in the fifth. With two on and two out, Drew Stankiewicz doubled to right-center field to score a pair and give the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead. After a walk to the next batter, R.J. Ybarra doubled to left-center to score Stankiewicz and Nathaniel Causey.
The UA got a runner on in the bottom half of the inning, but Riley Moore grounded into an inning-ending double play to quickly end any chance at a response.
Arizona State (23-16, 12-8) went right back to work in the sixth and knocked UA starter Cody Hamlin out of the game.
The sophomore right-hander gave up three straight singles to open the inning. The third single, a liner to left from Tucker Esmay, scored Jake Peevyhouse and made it 5-0.
Hamlin was pulled after that hit in favor of reliever Nathan Bannister.
After getting a groundout, Bannister walked Stankiewicz to load the bases and then gave a free pass to Causey to score the second run of the inning.
He then surrendered a sacrifice fly and another walk before he was yanked.
Hamlin, who had given up three or more earned runs just once in his first 10 starts, gave up seven runs on nine hits and went five innings. That followed last week’s start against USC where Hamlin gave up three runs on 10 hits in 6ª innings.
Of course Hamlin’s start didn’t mean much because of Arizona’s continued struggles at the plate.
The Wildcats got a runner to third base just twice in the loss.
Their best chance to score came in the second when Kevin Newman, Willie Calhoun and Kenny Meimerstorf all singled to load the bases with two outs.
But Moore struck out swinging to end the threat.
The Wildcats have just one run in their last 32 innings and were shut out by ASU for the first time since 2004.
Newman was the only UA player to register a multiple-hit game, going 2 for 4. Trent Gilbert doubled for the only extra-base hit of the game for the Wildcats.
Left fielder Christopher Beall went 4 for 5 with two runs scored in the win for ASU.
Peevyhouse was 2 for 5 with two runs. Ybarra had three RBIs.
Arizona will try to salvage a game today in the series finale.
Righty Tyger Talley (1-1, 4.38 ERA) will start for the Wildcats. He’ll be opposed by Darin Gillies (1-3, 3.96).